Slips and falls will probably always be the greatest hazard on a sailboat, whether the result is a trip over the side, a knee slammed into the deckhouse, or a tumble down the companionway.
In our search for stowable, seaworthy seating, we rounded up six padded chairs with self-supporting backrests and compared them to the reigning favorite, the Paradise Sport-a-Seat. The chairs have weatherproof covers and multiple reclining settings with self-supporting, padded backrests. The test field was: the Paradise Sport-a-Seat; Picnic Times Oniva and Ventura designs; G2 Products ComfortSeat; and retail giant West Marines Go-Anywhere Seat 2 and High-back Go-Anywhere Seat 2.
While world leaders and presumed financial wizards set to work trying to right the global economy with some very expensive bailers and sponges, Practical Sailor has taken the time this month to dig through our recent collection of Chandlery submissions to see if we can find anything more useful. Given sailors capacities for innovation (aka "jury rigging"), were holding out hope that the next great invention-the ultimate stimulus package-lies somewhere in our growing stockpile of Chandlery items.
Letters to Practical Sailor's April 2010 issue include: MOB drills, tethers, nav lights, cleats, no-buff shines and tankless water heaters.
This toilet paper evaluation aimed to find out three things: how quickly the different TPs dissolved in water, how strong they were, and how soft they felt. Each brand was given a number (1 through 10) for blind judging. Four sheets from each roll were crumpled and placed in a clear plastic canister with two quarts of lukewarm water and were stirred for five seconds, or five swirls, with a plastic straw.
With the increased demand to have all the electrically powered comforts of home onboard, it should come as no surprise to boaters that the majority of AC-related electrical fires involve overheated shore-power plugs and receptacles. Prime Technology, aims to change all that with the introduction of its Shore Power Inlet Protector (ShIP for short), a monitoring and alarm device that automatically disconnects AC shore power when excessive heat is detected at the power inlet connector. We reviewed the ShIP 110 designed for use with a 110-volt, 30-amp system. The company also offers a similar unit (the ShIP 220) for use with 220-volt, 50-amp service. Charred plugs and receptacles are the result of resistance build-up (due to loose or corroded connections), which generates heat and the potential for fire, a problem especially prevalent among vessels that continually run high energy loads such as water heaters and air-conditioning units. In addition to monitoring the temperature of your vessels shore-power inlet plug and its wiring, the ShIP system automatically disconnects AC shore power when an unsafe temperature is detected, providing visual and audible alarms. (The audible alarm shuts down after five minutes to avoid prolonged disturbance to surrounding boats.)
After several rounds of chemical testing for holding tanks, we have got this stink detection down to a science. Because the masking chemicals are more effective in in port-a-potty applications, there is only one true measure of effectiveness: whether the toilet still stinks after it is flushed.
Practical Sailor Chandlery: October 2011. This month reviews a pocket video, new mastclimber, and belowdeck comfort.
Another consideration is that many day sailors avoid using the boats head at all, often going for many months at a time without needing it. When it is used, once in a blue moon, is it worth the hassle of hauling it home to clean it out, knowing that most likely it will not be used for another 3 months? When Katrina hit New Orleans, the Red Cross handed out WAG (waste alleviation and gel) bags by the thousands to provide an emergency option. Weve been living with these too, evaluating them as an option for small boats.
Weve spilled our share of drinks on board, and while its a shame to see a fresh drink go to waste, some beverages can stain cushions and decks. Drink holders can help minimize onboard spills, but there are a million types marketed to boat owners-from basic lifeline-mounted wire baskets to expensive Starboard or teak binnacle boxes. To find out which is most effective, Practical Sailor field-tested a sampling from several manufacturers. Three of the 10 test products were of the old-style, gimbaled wire-basket variety that hang from a lifeline: the Sail-Buoy, the Sail-a-long, and one from Snap-It. From Edson and Snap-It, we evaluated rail- or pulpit-mountable holders made of stainless and Starboard (high-density polyethylene) and three binnacle-mounted products that can accommodate multiple drinks. The two products we tested designed to mount on vertical surfaces like a bulkhead were the Sea-Fit and the Bar-buoy.